Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton is urging Jamaicans to treat the three-day national dengue cleanup exercise, which gets under way on Friday (January 24), as one step in their approach to eradicating mosquitoes transmitting this and other diseases over the long-term.
On Tuesday, Tufton reiterated that the first line of defence in countering dengue fever is controlling the breeding of mosquitoes.
“You are really your best defence.”— Tufton
The Minister said the insect is the most dangerous vector known to humans and, as such, poses a major challenge to control.
“One mosquito will survive for 30 days, lay every three to five days, and lay 300 eggs at a time. Consider that being multiplied 10 times for its lifespan, and it is theoretically possible for a mosquito to lay 3,000 eggs,” Tufton outlined.
Consequently, he added, mosquito eradication will require ongoing measures and “all hands on deck”.
The Minister warned that if persons fail to destroy fertile breeding sites resulting from solid waste mismanagement, improper storage of water or otherwise, “you will never have enough resources to deal with the impact that dengue will have.”
In emphasising that “prevention is always better than cure,” Tufton argued that citizens’ action remains, “by far, the most effective approach to dealing with dengue”.
This, he further stressed, is manifested in “the extent to which the citizen recognises the threat and is proactive in minimising, if not totally preventing, that threat from occurring.”
“You are really your best defence… [this] by… looking in your surroundings and protecting your environment by eliminating breeding sites, physically doing inspections, storing your solid waste properly, punching holes in tyres and cans and changing the water in vases,” he advised.